Khudobin recovery slower than expected

Posted by Chip Alexander on October 31, 2013 

RALEIGH -- Goalie Anton Khudobin will not be back in net as quickly as the Canes first hoped.

Khudobin was injured Oct. 13 against the Phoenix Coyotes and it was initially believed he might be able to return in a week to two weeks. But Khudobin, who has an lower-body injury, first tried to skate Sunday. He has not been on the ice since Sunday and Canes coach Kirk Muller said he may not resume skating until early next week.

With Cam Ward also out with a lower-body injury, Justin Peters will continue as the Canes' No. 1 goalie and will start Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Forwards Jeff Skinner, Radek Dvorak and Kevin Westgarth missed practice Thursday. None will play against the Lightning although Muller said it's possible Dvorak could be available for Saturday's game in New York against the Rangers. Defenseman Justin Faulk, who sat out Wednesday's practice, was back Thursday.

With eight healthy defensemen, Mike Komisarek was used on the fourth line Thursday with Brett Sutter and Drayson Bowman. Muller said seven defensemen may dress for Friday's game.

The lines were unchanged from Wednesday's practice. Eric Staal centered Jiri Tlusty and Alex Semin, Jordan Staal was at center with Nathan Gerbe and Pat Dwyer, and Riley Nash centered Tuomo Ruutu and Elias Lindholm.

The Canes have dropped three in a row and scored just four games in the losing streak. The Canes are 24th in the NHL in goals per game (2.17), 22nd in five-on-five goals (18) and 21st on the power play (15.4 percent).

"We need a contribution from everybody in this lineup to do well," Muller said. "Some guys have to give a little bit more offensively. But not to the extent it's the panic button in terms of getting away from the game plan of how we play as a team. We have to keep that foundation in our game.

“We have some areas we have to address, but we still have to be a confident team and be aggressive at the right times ... and have confidence we can still win a tight game, which they all are right now.”

With Ward and Khudobin out, the Canes are taking a look at former Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, who was signed to a professional tryout contract with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL). DiPietro started Wednesday as the Checkers lost 5-2 to Grand Rapids in a road game and is expected to start again Thursday against Rockford.

DiPietro, playing his first game of the year, allowed four goals on 29 shots.

"He hasn't played. He needs a couple of games in there to kind of tune things up a little bit," Muller said.

Muller said Canes goaltending coach Greg Stefan had gone to analyze DiPietro’s play in the games.

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